Commentary

Rafa Marquez, from Designated Player to Specially Designated National

Mexican national team captain Rafael Marquez has gone from former Designated Player in MLS to Specially Designated National, accused of associating with the Flores Drug Trafficking Organization, headed by Raul Flores, also known as "El Tio."

Marquez was one of 21 Mexican nationals and 42 businesses in Mexico who had assets frozen for their association with Flores, accused of working with the leadership of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel and Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación.

This action marks the largest single Kingpin Act action against a Mexican drug cartel network that the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has designated. It was taken in cooperation with the Mexican government.

In designating Marquez and Mexican signer Julion Alvarez, the Treasury Department noted that "both men have longstanding relationships with Flores Hernandez, and have acted as front persons for him and his DTO and held assets on their behalf."

Also designated were Mauricio Heredia Horner and Marco Antonio Fregoso Gonzalez for acting for or on behalf of Marquez. 

Unlike Flores Hernandez, who was indicted on federal drug trafficking charges in the District of Columbia and the Southern District of California, Marquez and the associates don't face criminal charges, but the sanctions mean all their assets under U.S. jurisdiction or are in the control of U.S. persons are frozen and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

Marquez gave a statement to Mexican authorities on Wednesday and denied the charges in a press conference on Wednesday night. He had nine businesses listed, including a soccer school and nutritional and therapy businesses.

Marquez is hoping to play in his fifth World Cup for El Tri. His goal gave Mexico a 2-1 win over the USA in the Hexagonal opener last November. He played three seasons in MLS for the New York Red Bulls. He currently plays for his childhood team Atlas.



Among the other entities targeted was a Mexican soccer club, Club Deportivo Morumbi, which operates as the Guerreros de Autlan in the Mexican third division.

13 comments about "Rafa Marquez, from Designated Player to Specially Designated National".
  1. Footballer Forever, August 9, 2017 at 11:05 p.m.

    Drug Cartels have long and seducing tentacles which wraps from politicians, artists, celebrities and footballers. Add mexico being one , if not, the most corrupted country in the world, then it is no surprise to see such outcome.

  2. R2 Dad, August 9, 2017 at 11:53 p.m.

    Rafa is the owner of 9 business, and is accused but not charged with nefarious doings--but not his bookkeeper(s) or accountant(s), who might really know which money went where and when? Sounds like a witch hunt.

  3. mike renshaw, August 10, 2017 at 9 a.m.

    R2 Dad....'legitimate business's are a way of laundering money apparently...Marquez 'bookkeeper' and 'accountant' are probably operating at his command as they work for him. I hope he is still allowed to play for Mexico as he is finished as a top flight player...slow as molasses and a passenger in most games...

  4. R2 Dad replied, August 10, 2017 at 11:04 a.m.

    I'm sure there is a sound legal foundation in "probably"...

  5. Tim Gibson, August 10, 2017 at 9:05 a.m.

    I take back all the bad things I ever said about Rafa. I must admit I misunderstood him & had him pegged as a Pedo

  6. Fire Paul Gardner Now, August 10, 2017 at 9:20 a.m.

    Probably the least favorite player I've ever had play for a team I support in any sport whatsoever. No surprise to see him wrapped up in this.

  7. R2 Dad replied, August 10, 2017 at 11:05 a.m.

    I thought you hated Altidore more?

  8. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, August 10, 2017 at 12:06 p.m.

    Huh? Not sure if this is serious but I have never posted an anti-Altidore comment. He's not perfect but he's the best striker we have (along with Wood).

  9. Ric Fonseca, August 10, 2017 at 2:33 p.m.

    You know folks, even in Mexico like here in the US, the concept of "innocent until proven guilty," is also applicable in Mexico. Although I must admit and know that sometimes Napoleonic styled Law in Mexico is the opposite to our laws. So what do y'all say, he's innocent until proven guilty, much as those in 4 En Linea Mexican Futbol program touted over and over as well as Jorge Ramos and his parrots on ESPN en espanol.

  10. John Soares, August 10, 2017 at 4:09 p.m.

    Ric, I hear you BUT; One reason these investigations take so long is to be pretty sure they have a high level of confidence before naming names. Yet I hope he is innocent, not because of any great love for him. He is a roll model for many kids in Mexico and beyond. With all the issues in Mexico, this s a big blow. "If Rafa can do it...." However this is not a Mexico problem. It is always a shame when those that are idolized prove to be. Not only unworthy, but actually closer to the bottom of the barrel.

  11. Tom G, August 10, 2017 at 11:03 p.m.

    Not surprised at all. Character matters n we know this dude.

  12. Ric Fonseca replied, August 11, 2017 at 1:15 p.m.

    Tom G: Are you clairvoyantly not surprised, do you know anything about the players or exactly what's going on? How well do you know "this dude," especially about his "character" are you one of detractors for whatever reason?

  13. Allan Lindh replied, August 12, 2017 at 5:45 p.m.

    His dirty tackle on an Earthquakes forward left him with broken bones. And wasn't he the one that launched a flying karate kick on Tim Howard? One of the most vicious dirty players I ever saw. In the end, class will tell.

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